The Loss of Fear

The Loss of Fear

I feel, having reached the ripe age of 50, that I now have a certain amount of experience, knowledge and understanding about how the world works.  I can objectively judge a person’s character and I now have enough time behind me that I can remember how our society was and how far we have come.

One of the things that has evolved–to our detriment–has been the loss of fear.

I’m not talking about the fear of the boogeyman. I am talking about the fear from safety.

Let me explain.  As I was growing up–I had a lot of fears.  I did not see those fears as a bad thing.

I was afraid of strangers–so I never strayed far from my mother and father when in public.

I was afraid of getting sick–so I wore my gloves and my scarf in the cold, an umbrella in the rain.

I was afraid of big dogs–so when I walked home from school with my little sister, I made her cross the street with me so we could avoid the house on the corner with the big german shepherd.

As I got older I was afraid of different things.

I was afraid of failing–so I made sure to study and get the best grades I could–in high school and college.

I was afraid of drugs–so I stayed away from them and anyone that used them–even if it was just “one time”.

I was afraid of being attacked, mugged or abducted–so I made sure to never go out at night by myself.

These fears, to me, were healthy. They kept me safe. And I did not “miss out” on anything.

Kids today, I am finding, have lost their fear.  They are not afraid of vicious animals–they instigate them. They do not take care of their health–often walking through the rain in no hurry to get where they are going, or wearing the inappropriate clothes for the weather.

But worse–they are not afraid of strangers talking to them, calling them or connecting with them on the internet.

They are not afraid of drugs, drug users or drug dealers–seeing it as a right of passage.

They are not afraid of guns or violence often running to see what is happening when a serious situation takes place.

They are not afraid to walk around late at night in the dark by themselves.

This new generation has lost their fear–and with it they have lost their safety.

As a middle aged woman now, my new fear is these young people. Not for what may happen to them because of their lack of fear–but for what may happen to us due to their disregard of actions and decisions that keep us all safe in our community.

The loss of fear is hurting our youth and our society.  The world around us has not changed that much–it is how we choose to view the threats in our world that has changed.  I will chose the healthy fear–every time.

Woolly Mammoth Fear

Woolly Mammoth Fear

Not too long ago I confessed that being in an empty nest household can be very:

  1. Satisfying–because you did a good job as a parent and the kids are independent and pursuing their own lives;
  2. Exciting–because now is the time to reinvent yourself and make plans for the future; and
  3. Terrifying–because now is the time to reinvent yourself and make plans for the future.

I thought that by starting to make some future plans I would be able to navigate this empty nest.  And most of the time I can–but there are days when I come up against this big woolly mammoth called fear.

For months I thought that my biggest fear is that the kids are far away–far from home–far from me–and what if something happened? It is hard for a helicopter mom to adjust!

I checked the news channel of the cities in which they live each morning to see what the crime is like in their areas, I checked the weather reports and wondered if they remembered to take an umbrella or a jacket.

I was really really good!  I never texted them to ask if they remembered to take an umbrella or a jacket! That was so hard! I’ll admit that a few times I texted myself that message just to get it out of my system.

And as some time passed and I would call them or they would call me, I realized that they were fine. They had not forgotten to eat while they were away from home, and if they got wet in the rain, I never heard about it.

But the fear was still there.  Not worry–as I think I will worry about them until my last breath–but fear. The kind that sits on your chest–the big woolly mammoth.

Then it finally hit me, my biggest fear was not the can the kids survive without me? thing. My biggest fear was can I survive without them? thing.

Ouch. I could not remember a time without my kids. I mean I do remember my childhood and my adult years before children–but I don’t remember what it FEELS like to not have my babies in my life.

The realization that the fear was about me being able to move on was one I had not prepared myself for. And at first I didn’t know how to deal with it–but putting a name on it made all the difference.

Now I can sit and stare that woolly mammoth in the eyes and  I know I am satisfied that I did the best job I could with the kids. The girls are making their way in the world and now I must find my way.

I am excited to be in a place that I can reinvent myself and move towards new and different and diverse goals.  And I am also terrified to be in this place–but since I have named the fear– it is my control.

Next week I am going to dig deep and talk about reinventing, re-imagining, and recreating a meaningful future in this new chapter of my life. And hopefully, the woolly mammoth will find a new address in which to live.

How do you cope with the fear of change and uncertainty?  Comment below and share and like this post with your friends if it resonated with you!

And while we are busy trying to figure out our direction in life–don’t forget to have fun while you are doing it!